January 19, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Earlier this week, I wrote about Chris Christie’s non-position on the marriage equality bill in the New Jersey legislature. Today, ThinkProgress is reporting on a CBS New York interview with the governor in which he staked out a new, slightly different position:
I’ve been very clear on my view on this since I ran for office that I’m not a supporter of same-sex marriage. But on the other hand, the fact is that this is a huge societal change that they’re talking about here and I think that we need to do this in a very deliberate and thoughtful way and get the most input from the public we can before we overturn hundreds of years of societal legal and religious tradition.
To be true, this is certainly not a ringing endorsement, and his last comment does seem to be an implicit plea for a public vote on the issue. Still, we certainly are moving away from Christie’s promises earlier in his career to unequivocally veto any marriage equality bill that made it to his desk.
As for that “input from the public” Christie mentions, a new Quinnipiac poll released today makes it fairly clear where New Jersey stands on the issue. For the first time, the poll found a majority of the state’s residents in support of the bill at 52 percent, with only 42 percent opposed. Among independents, support stands at 54 percent.
It’s too early to know for sure, but Christie certainly seems to be staking out ground for himself to justify not vetoing the bill should it pass. As Stefan and James pointed out in the comments for my earlier post this week, New Jersey has an intriguing legislative provision whereby a bill can become law after 45 days without the governor’s signature. This could be a way out for Christie to neither veto nor explicitly ‘endorse’ the bill, while still bringing marriage equality to the Garden State. You can watch the relevant part of the interview, via ThinkProgress, below.